The following is an email response I sent to Fred Dooley of RealDebateWisconsin. Fred, a candidate for city council, and I have been engaged in a discussion about liquor issues. You can read the exchange at his Dooley for Alderman site. (Fred, if I haven't ticked you off too much, I could use some instruction on links someday) Anyway, if I understand our differences on this issue, it is that Fred would be open to terminating liquor licenses at bars, even if the unlawful behavior was not committed by the license holder or his/her agents, while I am a stickler for differentiating between the behavior of the license holder and the behavior of the patrons. So here is my e-mail to Fred:
Yes, you answered my question. Unfortunately I did not like the answer. The way I see things, entrepreneurs should be assured, in advance, that if they act lawfully, they will be able to pursue their interests with the support of local government, including the police. With your answer, it is possible, even likely, that a responsible, law abiding bar owner will lose his livelihood because of the actions and behaviors of other people. This is a horrible climate for an entrepreneur. Additionally, this quasi-prohibitionist approach to liquor enforcement will not solve any problems. It will simply move them to other bars in Racine. Suppose Bar A is closed because of excessive fighting. The troublemakers will still be around. Do you suppose they will stay home and play Scrabble? Certainly they will take their problematic behavior to other bars, and heretofore "responsible" bar owners will become "problem" bar owners through no fault of their own. Overall I have a problem when people are not held responsible for their own behaviors, or if people are held responsible for other adults behaviors. The larger problem, that nobody wants to address, is that Racine has a large population of troublemakers. This fact makes it more difficult, I am sure, to have a business in Racine. With your approach, bar businesses will be harmed twice, first by the troublemaking patrons and then again by the city council. Should you win your race Fred, you will be faced with scenarios much like I have described. I hope that you would consider making a clear distinction between the behavior of the business owner and the behavior of the patron. To do otherwise would be to contribute to an already hostile business climate in Racine. Thanks for taking the time to consider this issue carefully. I find this discussion interesting. I will include it on my blog, as I think it may interest others and as I believe public matters should be discussed publicly. Thanks again Fred. Denis.